SharePoint & Flow – Vacation Requests

It’s that time of the season where vacation requests are starting to come in for summer. Whether your organization is small or large, having an approval system in place can be crucial to keep things straight and make sure not too many people are out at the same time. Below we will go over how to create a SharePoint vacation request form, creating a Flow for manager approval, and then having it display on a SharePoint calendar. Having the vacations display on an internally viewable calendar will also help self-service vacation requests so employees can plan accordingly. As a warning - For the below workflow to work as expected, the user’s manager needs to be set correctly in Azure AD

On the SharePoint site you wish to add the request form & Calendar perform the following steps

Click New -> List
  • Name: Vacation Requests
  • Description: Vacation Requests List
  • Leave checked: Show in site navigation
 

Click the gear in the top right corner -> Site Contents

Click three dots next to “Vacation Requests” -> Settings

We will be making a lot of changes on this settings page and I’ve highlighted all the spots we will be going into

Near the middle of the screen select column labeled “Title
  • Change Column Name to: Vacation Requestor
  • Require that this column contains information: Yes
  • Click the “OK” button
Vacation Request List - Edit Column Select “Create Column
  • Column Name: Start Date
  • Type of Information in this column is: Date and Time
  • Require that this column contains information: Yes
  • Date and Time format: Date & Time

Repeat the above steps for “End Date” column Select “Versioning Settings” -> enable “Require content approval for submitted items?

Click “Site Contents” -> New -> App -> select Calendar -> Name: Vacation Calendar

Adding Vacation Calendar Click 3 dots next to Vacation Calendar -> Settings -> click List name, description and navigation -> enable “Display this list on the Quick Launch” -> Click Save Vacation Calendar Settings

From your site’s home page you should now have Vacation Requests & Vacation Calendar in the side navigation

Navigation with new lists  

Microsoft Flow

At this point, we will perform the rest of the work in Flow. This can be found in your Office 365 app launcher (Square grid in top left corner) or by going to https://us.flow.microsoft.com. Flow is Microsoft’s answer to the “If this; than that” question. Flow enables users to create automated workflows through many of Microsoft’s cloud products.   Select My Flows -> New -> Create from template Select “Approval” tab -> Start approval when a new item is added -> click “Continue” button
  • Rename to Vacation Requests
  • Site Address: Select your SharePoint URL from the drop down list
  • List Name: Will auto populate from the previous lists we created, select “Vacations Requests”
  Move mouse to arrow right below first step and click “+” -> Add an Action
  • In search type “Get manager” -> Select “Get manager (V2)
  • User (UPN): under Search dynamic content type “Created by” -> Select “Created by Email
  Select “Start an approval” and modify as follows
  • Title: Please review: Vacation Requestor’s Vacation Request
  • Assigned To: Mail
  • Details: Created By DisplayName at Created
  • Item Link: Link to Item
  • Item Link Description: Name’s Vacation Request

Click on “Condition” step to modify the “If yes” entry in order for it to update the vacation request list to “Approved” and to add the calendar entry in the Vacation Calendar created earlier

Microsoft Flow - Condition   Click on “Inform item creator of approval” and change the following:
  • To: Created By Email
  • Subject: Approved By: Approver Name
Microsoft Flow - Inform item creator of approval Click “Add an action” -> type/select “Set content approval status” and modify as follows
  • Site Address: Use same URL as used in first step of flow
  • Library Name: Select list created for vacation requests
  • Id: ID
  • Action: Approve
  • Comments: Approved By: Approver Name
Microsoft Flow - Set Content approval status Click “Add an action” -> Type/select “Create Item” and modify as follows
  • Site Address: Use same URL as used above
  • Library Name: Calendar will not display in drop down, but type in name exactly as it was created above
  • Title: Created By DisplayName’s Vacation
  • Start Time: Start Date
  • End Time: End Date

Now that we have wrapped up the configuration have a user test out the process by entering in a vacation request. That user’s manager will get an email with an option to Approve or Reject the request. Below I have outlined the steps to take Have testing user click “New” on the Vacation Request list -> Fill in the blanks -> Click Save

Vacation Request form filled out

Manager receives email from Flow -> Select “Approve” -> add comment if desired -> click “Submit”

The user who submitted the request receives an email back from the manager about approval, the Vacation Request list is updated to Approved, and there is also a new calendar entry.

Vacation Submitted Calendar

At first this glance this can feel like a long process to set up, but setting up a vacation request workflow will introduce some automation into the busy work day and can help coordinate vacations as we come into the summer months. Please contact us here if you would like help setting up this workflow or have any questions with any of Microsoft’s cloud offerings.

 

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